Leading a strategic watch and innovation initiative

@ Allianz

Key achievements

  • Led a team of 17 in a strategic watch activity, enhancing team expertise in AI, Cybersecurity, IoT, and more, to fuel the IT plan.
  • Identified and initiated two startup partnership studies.
  • Conducted an in-depth study of current practices, leading to a strategic refocusing and the establishment of state-of-the-art practices for better alignment and impact.

Client

Allianz is the leading European insurer and the fourth asset manager in the world.

I was hired in 2018 at Allianz France's enterprise architecture department to lead a strategic watch and innovation initiative involving seventeen people to :

  • develop and share knowledge about AI, IoT, Blockchain, ...
  • fuel the IT strategic plan
  • launch startup partnerships

Problem

As I joined the team I noticed a few problems :

  • the initiative, which was launched a few years ago, was losing momentum and lacking concrete results.
  • technology watch articles were written and published but had no measurable impact on processes and strategies.
  • Potential startup parnterships were identified but none had been implemented by the team so far.

Process

In addition to implementing the already defined processes (coordinating technology watch teams, screening startups, organizing ideation workshops, ...), I started an in-depth assessment of current practices.

1.

Literature review

Upskilling about technology watch, strategic watch and innovation, identifying best practices and common mistakes.

2.

Identifying current practices

Conducting and synthesizing 15 semi-structured interviews of innovation lab managers, enterprise architects and internal experts in strategic watch to identify actual Allianz practices and identify good practices.

3.

Strategic refocusing

Comparison of literature and actual practices to come up with strategic recommendations.

Solution

  • I defined processes to assess the quality of current practices and define realistic strategy-aligned goals and KPIs for the initiative. This process could then be followed once a year.
  • I designed a change management plan to conduct the resulting changes.
  • I formalized the typical steps of a strategic watch process, gathered  best practices for each of them, and popularized it all with simple infographics.

Results

  • The initiative was redesigned.
  • Fresh impetus was given to the initiative.
  • Two startup partnership studies were launched.
  • New collaborations with other teams were started.
  • The team wrote some of the most read and impacting strategic and technology watch articles of the company.
Tools & methods :

Technology and Strategic Watch, Change Management, Ideation workshops, Startup Screening, Semi-structured interview, Literature Review

Interested in cooperation or would like to discuss anything ?

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